Anti-social Behaviour Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee am ar 6 Mai 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

[Mr. Bill O'Brien in the Chair]

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 10:30, 6 Mai 2003

I beg to move,


(1) during proceedings on the Anti-social Behaviour Bill the Standing Committee, in addition to its first sitting on Tuesday 6th May at 10.30 am, shall meet on that day at 4.30 pm and thereafter on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9.10 am and 2.30 pm;

(2) 12 sittings shall be allotted to the consideration of the Bill in Committee;

(3) the proceedings shall be taken in the order specified in the Table below;

(4) the proceedings specified in the first column of the Table shall be brought to a conclusion (unless already concluded) at the time specified in the second column of the Table.



Time for conclusion of proceedings

Part 1, New Clauses relating to Part 1, New Schedules relating to Part 1

9.55 pm at the 2nd sitting

Part 3, New Clauses relating to Part 3, New Schedules relating to Part 3, Part 4, New Clauses relating to Part 4, New Schedules relating to Part 4, Clauses 12 to 14, Schedule 1, Clauses 15 to 17, New Clauses relating to Part 2, New Schedules relating to Part 2

6.55 pm at the 6th sitting

Clauses 36 to 39, Schedule 2, Clauses 40 and 41, New Clauses relating to Part 5, New Schedules relating to Part 5, Part 6, New Clauses relating to Part 6, New Schedules relating to Part 6, Clauses 45 to 47

6.55 pm at the 10th sitting

Clauses 48 to 55, New Clauses relating to Part 7, New Schedules relating to Part 7, Clause 56, Schedule 3, Clauses 57 to 61, remaining New Clauses, remaining New Schedules, remaining proceedings on the Bill

5.15 pm at the 12th sitting

Good morning, Mr. O'Brien, and welcome to the Chair. I am sure that you are as pleased as every other hon. Member to be in Committee Room 11 on this bright and sunny morning as we get down to dealing with the detail of the proposals in the Bill.

I ask the Committee to agree to the programme motion recommended by the Programming Sub-Committee, which met briefly on Tuesday 29 April. The motion provides for a further 11 sittings, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9.10 until 11.25 am, and 2.30 until 6.55 pm, except for today, which, as anyone who has been a Whip knows, is not really a Tuesday but a Monday—[Interruption.] At least one member of the Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. Heppell), gets the joke. As a Whip, he is familiar with the deliberations about when a Monday is a Monday and a Tuesday is a Tuesday. Today, we shall meet from 4.30 until 9.55 pm.

More important, the programme motion determines which parts of the Bill will be considered

during which sittings. It allocates the first two sittings to part 1; four sittings to parts 3, 4 and 2; four sittings to parts 5 and 6; and two sittings to parts 7 and 8. We have tried to allocate time to ensure that the Committee has an opportunity to scrutinise the Bill fully. The timetable is potentially challenging, but my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, East has had discussions with his counterparts in the Opposition parties and has indicated to them that if there is a desire to make sensible changes to the proposals, he will be prepared to listen to the arguments.

Given the high level of interest in the issues raised by the Bill, as demonstrated by the number of speakers on Second Reading, I am sure that we shall have some interesting and, I hope, constructive debates. We will reflect on the Committee's arguments.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I welcome you to the Chair, Mr. O'Brien, and other hon. Members on both sides of the Committee. I especially welcome the two Ministers. The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth), must have got up this morning thinking, ''Oh no, not another Bill.'' The poor man seems to spend most of his time handling legislation in Committee, particularly in the absence of a replacement for the former Minister, the right hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham). I last served on a Committee with the Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. McNulty), when he was in the Whips Office. I shall be fascinated to see how he takes up his responsibilities as the Bill progresses, particularly as I shall handle the issues with which he deals.

This is a mixed Bill. As Opposition Members said repeatedly on Second Reading, we seriously doubt whether much of it is necessary—there are existing powers, although they are not adequately used. We will challenge some parts of the Bill directly, either because they go too far in terms of infringing liberty or because they will not have the effect that the Government and, indeed, the Opposition would like. We all share the objective of reducing antisocial behaviour. Our amendments have been tabled in the spirit of trying to improve the Bill or to probe Ministers about their intentions and ways in which the Bill differs from current legislation. The amendments are serious: our intention is not to prolong proceedings on any particular items.

The Minister said that there was much to be dealt with in the timetable specified in the programme motion. I believe that that can be achieved, but take at face value the undertakings given by the hon. Member for Nottingham, East that there will be flexibility if necessary. My hon. Friends and I are anxious that the important points of the Bill should be dealt with properly and that the Government should be challenged where necessary. I am sure that the Minister will respond as well as he can, and I welcome that.

I look forward to serving under your chairmanship, Mr. O'Brien. We are content with the programme

motion, subject to the undertaking to which the Minister referred, that it will be open to discussion if we find ourselves running adrift.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

We, too, are pleased to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. O'Brien, and we welcome the Ministers to the Committee.

The Bill is a hotch-potch: it has many different elements and straddles many issues. Although we agree with some of the sentiments, we believe that they should be dealt with under other legislation. We welcome the opportunity for full scrutiny and believe that the flexibility proposed by the hon. Member for Nottingham, East will be helpful.

The Minister will be aware that we have particular concerns about the treatment of young people throughout the Bill. We are sad that there has been no formal consultation with young people. We want to examine that important area and we will make as many relevant comments on it as possible. We are concerned about antisocial behaviour but we want to involve and include young people so that they grow up to be responsible members of society. We look forward to working on the Bill constructively.

Question put and agreed to.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

Before we consider clause 1 and amendments to it, I remind the Committee that there is a money resolution in connection with the Bill, copies of which are available in the Room. I also remind members of the Committee that adequate notice of amendments should be given. As a general rule, I do not intend to call starred amendments, including any starred amendments that may be reached during an afternoon sitting of the Committee.

I appeal to Committee members, and to anyone else in the Room, to ensure that their mobile phones are switched off, so that there are no disturbances during consideration of the Bill.